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China Releases New Video Game Licenses After a 263 Days Hiatus

By Isabella Jiangcheng
Apr. 11, 2022 updated 09:00

China approved a new list of games on April 11th after a 263 days license freeze. According to the National Press and Publication Administration’s official website, 45 games have received the licenses.

 Full list on the official site of NPPA China.Full list on the official site of NPPA China.

This unexpected license approval marks a positive signal for the world’s most significant gaming industry. The relaxation brings a lot of possibilities to the market that has been in limbo for the past 8 months.

In China, all games require a publication license to release. Games are under the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) monitoring, and all game contents require a thorough evaluation before the NPPA can approve them before appearing on the market. In 2018, the NPPA froze its gaming approval from March to December, which hindered the industry massively.

Flash Party (XD Networks).Flash Party (XD Networks).

China has been cracking down on its gaming industry since July 2021. The game license approval froze, similar to what happened in 2018 in the same month. Following the freeze, the anti-addiction, real-name authorization system, which limits underage users’ playtime to 90 minutes per week and 3 hours on public holidays, was introduced in August. These measures are seen as the strictest regulations China has placed on its gaming industry. According to various sources, the official reason behind the license freezing was to incorporate the new anti-addiction requirement into the old evaluation process. However, many suspected that the drastic measures were aimed to cool down the game market that is considered by the administrative bodies as chaotic and unregulated.

My Time at Sandrock (Pathea Games).My Time at Sandrock (Pathea Games).

 These measures soon caused a lot of anxiety in the industry. On the one hand, many industry insiders were worried that heavier regulations would follow, especially rules on content censorship. Although many of them are debunked, various rumors circulated within the industry on how genres like anime and post-apocalypse would be banned because the subjects are against the core socialist values. The discontinuation of anticipated projects such as Lilith Games’ anime title E·D·E·N also deepened such speculations. On the other hand, the freezing of licenses has pushed game companies out of the market. According to Tianyancha, 14,000 game-related companies shut down from July to December 2021. As for the prominent gaming tycoons such as Tencent, overseas ventures have become their priority.

 As of the press release, the NPPA has not yet released an official statement on if there are any updated regulations concerning the latest approval of the license. We will continuously monitor the story.

 “We finally got a license!” JX3 Classic Server (Seasun Games).“We finally got a license!” JX3 Classic Server (Seasun Games).